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Old 06-30-2014, 07:41 PM
 
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This Onion article is meant in fun, but it illustrates a worthwhile point:

I Wish This Neighborhood Stayed Exactly As Gentrified As It Was When I First Moved Here - CollegeHumor Post

Is it possible to stabilize a neighborhood in mid-gentrification: where it's still a little scruffy, thus keeping away the more risk-averse, but still relatively cheap, and simultaneously offering a mixture of residents and retail--the old hardware store and panaderia alongside the third-wave coffeehouse and art gallery? Some of my personal experience suggests that the level can be maintained, to some extent, via efforts to ensure housing affordability, and there are also factors (like predominance of rental housing) that can make a neighborhood still viable for "early wave" gentrifiers (like artists and students) but less appealing for "later wave" gentrifiers (yoga yuppies and real estate developers.)
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Old 06-30-2014, 08:27 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Whether it's possible probably tends on local housing demand and real estate values. Any city that's full high paid white collar workers in the city center is more prone to "over-gentrification".
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Old 06-30-2014, 08:41 PM
 
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I think that's part of it--there are a lot of white-collar workers in my neighborhood, but they aren't very highly paid. That, and about 90% of the housing stock is rentals.
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Old 06-30-2014, 09:05 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wburg View Post
I think that's part of it--there are a lot of white-collar workers in my neighborhood, but they aren't very highly paid. That, and about 90% of the housing stock is rentals.
I would think more rental housing would encourage faster gentrification, unless laws limit how fast rents can be raised. If most homes are owned, even if prices rise fast, the current residents can't be forced out by cost. Manhattan housing stock is 78% rentals, the non-rental stabilized can gentrify fast.

As for white collar workers, if there aren't many workers say making $80k/year + salaries, very high rents will be less likely because there won't be many who could afford high rent. If the hip neighborhoods are very limited, demand overwhleming supply could push it anyway but it'd be harder. Philadelphia seems a bit stuck in the in-between state you're referring to, if you want a dense, urban environment without very high rent, it's one of the better choices. Boston, New York City and particularly DC seem to go quickly past that stage. From what I've heard, DC has the least "in between" neighborhoods out of all four.
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Old 06-30-2014, 11:32 PM
 
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The problem is, most of that 90% rental housing stock are old, inexpensively built apartments (mostly 1950s-1980s) and it's hard to charge higher rents for them without significant reinvestment. Only a couple of these older apartment buildings have attempted a remodel/rehab approach. Rents have gone up, but fairly gradually, and pretty much keeping pace with inflation and minimum wage. Those on public assistance generally can't afford our downtown/midtown apartments anymore, but working people generally can if the choose a small place and don't own a car. Average wage is around $50K locally. There is some demand for higher-rent apartments but there is also quite a bit of expensive housing under construction. So there isn't a whole lot of price pressure on the existing apartment stock. And the "hip neighborhoods" are expanding outward into nearby areas where rent is still even cheaper.
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Old 07-01-2014, 07:34 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
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Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
I don't think that was the idea of urban renewal, unless you use "historic" as a synonym for "old". Much as you may believe the meme that the Hill District in Pittsburgh was full of some fabulous old houses that got town down for the sole purpose of building the Civic Arena, that's not true. I've posted many pictures of what's left up there on the Hill in various threads on this forum. It's not the greatest, and that's the stuff that wasn't torn down!

As far as gentrification being "organic" (part of the post I snipped and now want to respond to), it's hardly "organic" if it's happening in virtually every city in the US, which it is. Gentrification might be compared to the growth of suburbia in the 50s and 60s. It's the "in" thing.
The idea behind a lot of urban renewal was that social pathology was caused by the built environment. Therefore if you swept away "dingy old tenements" and replaced them with modern designed apartment buildings with plenty of natural light and green space on the grounds you'd end up with lower crime.

The first step of gentrification is generally speaking organic. First people with next to no money come - artists looking for low rent, homeowners (often gay ones) rehabbing old Victorian houses on the cheap, and creative small business owners with ideas who cater to these groups. Eventually a few smaller-scale flippers get involved in the rehab business. Then once the neighborhood gets viewed as a stable investment with a solid rate of return, the big boys move in and start new construction projects.

This is very different from urban renewal, where the government decided what a neighborhood was supposed to be and worked with local developers to make the plan happen from the top down. It's also why I generally don't call developer-driven redevelopment (e.g., what happens in downtowns, or ancillary areas like warehouse districts) to be gentrification - virtually no one is being gentrified, heavy government involvement is often needed initially, and the big money developers are there from square one.
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Old 07-01-2014, 08:10 AM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
45,991 posts, read 42,018,377 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wburg View Post
The problem is, most of that 90% rental housing stock are old, inexpensively built apartments (mostly 1950s-1980s) and it's hard to charge higher rents for them without significant reinvestment. Only a couple of these older apartment buildings have attempted a remodel/rehab approach. Rents have gone up, but fairly gradually, and pretty much keeping pace with inflation and minimum wage.
Coming from here, it's odd to hear 50s to 80s apartments described as old, especially at the later end of the period. About 40% of Massachusetts housing stock is pre-1950, multifamily probably averages a bit older. And definitely city apartment buildings.

Random Queens apartments buildings from around 1950. Most not built with parking.

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=64-41...88.48,,0,-5.25

Not really gentrified, it's in a neighborhood that never declined nor became all that hip just stayed middle-class.
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Old 07-01-2014, 08:25 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
Coming from here, it's odd to hear 50s to 80s apartments described as old, especially at the later end of the period. About 40% of Massachusetts housing stock is pre-1950, multifamily probably averages a bit older. And definitely city apartment buildings.

Random Queens apartments buildings from around 1950. Most not built with parking.

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=64-41...88.48,,0,-5.25

Not really gentrified, it's in a neighborhood that never declined nor became all that hip just stayed middle-class.
It's not always a factor of newer age of construction in general, but if the typology of the neighborhood was later "restructured"

Pittsburgh, for example, had a history as a rowhouse city initially, so relatively few apartment buildings were built before WW1. There are some scattered early 20th century examples, but basically there was a mild apartment boomlet in the 1920s, and then more sustained apartment building between 1945 and 1970.
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Old 07-01-2014, 09:09 AM
 
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It's a West Coast thing--the vast majority of California's building stock is from that era or newer. California has four times the population it did in 1950, from 10 million to 40 million, so figure at least 75% of the housing had to have been built since then. There were fewer than 4 million Californians a century ago, so figure less than 10% of the housing is older than that--probably considerably less considering how we liked to demolish our downtowns for freeways etcetera. Los Angeles was predominantly a city of row houses and later bungalows, but keep in mind that on the West Coast "row houses" were generally detached wooden buildings with space in between them. The perennial exception is San Francisco, but places like San Jose were little farming villages prior to WWII, and Los Angeles was very dispersed due to its development pattern.

I don't think you'd find anything like that Queens neighborhood anywhere on the west coast, including San Francisco. The closest is maybe something like this, in Los Angeles:

https://www.google.com/maps/@34.0674...QBhg!2e0?hl=en

Note the very different housing form, wider street, lower building height. The more common form of California apartment is the "dingbat"--a 2 or 3 story stucco building with a dozen or so apartments and a few parking spaces (not enough for one per unit, generally) in front or in back. They were stuck into older neighborhoods of single-family homes in redlined areas and the old house on the lot was considered worthless junk that reduced the lot's value--investors used a depreciation method to subtract the demolition cost of the house from its assessed value to save money on taxes.
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Old 07-01-2014, 09:31 AM
 
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I have to disagree. When I was a kid it was go to a city to see the museum then the zoo and then head out of town. Now city's have unique restaurants, and you can stroll through downtown in a lot of places without being hassled by bums.
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